11/23/10 – Carroll Cave Conservancy, WNS Policy

I ask that anyone who is in the vicinity of Carroll Cave between now and mid-April take a drive by the natural entrance. Get out, look around, see if there are any dead bats. Do not get your feet wet. Report what you see.  If you have a camera and see something interesting, take a picture. Do not collect samples.

Below is the policy that has been adopted.

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Carroll Cave is home to undetermined but significant numbers of two bat species on the Federal and Missouri Endangered Species list, gray bats (Myotis grisescens) and Indiana bats (Myotis sodalis). Undetermined numbers of several other bat species also use the cave. Consequently, there is a real possibility that Carroll Cave could become infected with the fungus that appears to cause White Nose Syndrome (Geomyces destructans).

The following policy is proposed to limit the chance of humans becoming a vector for this pathogen, either into or out of the cave, as well as to bring the resources of the CCC to bear in helping to better understand and address this epizootic. This policy also minimizes human disturbances during the bats vulnerable hibernation period.

1) All participants on all trips into any area of Carroll Cave for any reason will be required to decontaminate their caving clothing and gear both before and after visiting the cave, per the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service guidelines available at

http://www.fws.gov/whitenosesyndrome/ppt/NPS_Decontamination_Protocols_Webinar_June_9_2010.ppt

2) As has historically been done to eliminate human impact to potential populations of hibernating Indiana and gray bats, and suspected active gray bat maternity colonies, no trips will be authorized from the Water Barrier in the Carroll River section of the cave to the Mountain Room, without board approval, May 15th through August 31st. No trips will be permitted from the Mountain Room to the Natural Entrance between October 1st and March 31st without board approval.

3) Information on bat numbers collected by the Biology Committee of the CCC will be analyzed and reported to the CCC promptly, and made available to governmental agencies as requested.

4) A program for routine monitoring of the natural entrance will be established by the Biology Committee by autumn, 2010, in order to be able to make the membership and state wildlife authorities aware if and when WNS does actually infect Carroll Cave.

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